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substance. kristen welker standing by with more on the suspicious letter sent to the president. what can you tell us about this? >> i'm just getting information from the secret service. the letter was received on the 16th. it was addressed to the president containing a suspicious substance received at the remote white house screening mail facility. now, this facility ree teenly identifies letters or parcels that require secondary screening or scientific testing before they're delivered. the secret service white house mail screening facility is remote. it's not located near the white house. and the secret service the working in concert with the fbi and dhs to get to the bottom of this. obviously, a very tense time here in the wake of the bombings in boston. and then that letter that was intercepted to the senator that we learned about, so again, right now, the secret service fbi and dhs investigating a letter addressed to president obama that did contain a substan substance, so that is the latest here from the white house. the briefing by jay kacarney is expected to start within the half hour
, beginning with nbc's kristen welker at the white house. kristen? >> reporter: lester, good evening. the senate will take up debate on the gun legislation this coming week as the passionate public discussion wages on. across the country today, from atlanta to indiana and pennsylvania, people rallied to demand tougher gun laws. >> a background check is just a baseline common sense thing to do. >> this is a public safety issue. >> reporter: but some gun rights advocates protested against new laws. >> please, don't attack our rights as citizens. we're here. we're law-abiding citizens and we're being the ones victimized for this. >> reporter: but it is this woman whose voice may resonate the most. >> as you pced, i'm the pr >> reporter: for first time ever, the president turned over his weekly address to a private citizen, francine wheeler is a grieving newtown parent. >> david and i have two sons, our younger son, ben, age 6, was murdered in his first grade classroom on december 14th, exactly four months ago this weekend. >> reporter: wheeler was among the newtown families who spent th
address today. and he's going to have to. joining me is nbc kristen welker at the white house. alex wagner. chris freight, national correspondent for the national journal. and jackie kucinich, political editor for "the washington post." i want to star with kristen right now, it seems to me this is going to be dominated by syria. >> i think that's right, chris. i think that the president is going to get a lot of questions about syria. of course, several months ago he declared that it would be a red line if syria used chemical weapons. just last week, the administration said that there is proof, they believe, that syria has used chemical weapons. and at this point, it's not clear how the president, how this administration is going to respond. they say they need more evidence to corroborate the initial intelligence reports. i think you're absolutely right, the president has to some extent boxed himself in with those comments. we know that he's also reached tout russia. he just made a phone call to vladimir putin yesterday trying to get him on board to convince assad to step down, at the very
town to kristen welker who covers the white house for us. kristen, i don't know how long a night it was for the president. it's usually a matter of personal privilege how often they want to be awakened by the situation room. their domestic staff, the security staff, and i don't know if we'll ever know how many consecutive hours the president was aware of the events of the night. >> reporter: we tried to get an exact count as to how many hours he slept last night and we haven't gotten that answer. but i can tell you he was briefed throughout the night by his homeland security adviser. then he convened a meeting of his entire national security team this morning. it lasted for about an hour. attorney general eric holder was there, the fbi director as well as secretary of state john kerry, cia director, they were all there sort of walking him through everything that they know about the astonishing events that pete just mapped out. that meeting lasted for about an hour. the president has been receiving updates every -- on monday we have heard from the president about three times. on t
pete williams from washington and nbc's kristen welker at the white house. pete, i'm going to start with you. what are we expecting to hear at this fbi briefing within the next hour? >> we're going to hear, i believe, why they're interested in these two particular people. what it is they've done. what they can be seen doing that attracts their attention and raises their interest and why they want to find and talk to them. they know what they look like. they know what they were doing. the fbi has always thought that the bombs were carried to the scene in black nylon duffel bags or backpacks. they an see on these pictures the men, these two men carrying heavy backpack and duffel bag. they believe the bombs were relatively heavy, probably around 20 pounds. they were in the vicinity of where the bombs were found. so, where they were set off. so they want to find them. they don't know who they are, and they're going to ask for public assistance, we believe, in identifying the men. and you may remember that they asked for both photos and video. so it's certainly possible that we'll see bo
, kristen welker from the white house with nbc. joy-ann reid. barry mccafferty to help with military points and bill richardson. let me start with chrkristen he the president was -- what's the right word -- bothered a bit by some of these questions. the benghazi thing has almost become a right wing trope and raised by ed henry. an attorney for some of the state department officials that story dropped last night. they jumped on it this morning in the questioning. cnn followed up on that. let's start with syria. go to benghazi, what did you learn today? >> well, on syria, the president not ready to say whether that red line has been crossed in some sense he did not move the needle when it comes to syria. he said we can't confirm who used the chemical weapons in syria. you just mentioned the fact that if he does, if he's able to confirm that that he would have to review his range of options. you'll notice, chris, he did not say specifically what that range would include. he sort of stayed away from getting into specifics. he sort of defends his handling of syria to date making it clear he's no
. >> it is interesting and maybe contradictly. but what kristen welker was told, any event with multiple explosive devices is clearly an act of terror. on the other hand, what we heard from officials yesterday was that there was no chatter. nothing on any of the usual channels that they monitor. what do you make of those two seemingly contradictory pieces of information? >> i think they're quite consistent. the white house, appropriately so, going to be very careful about attributing responsibility. you, of course, have the attack in benghazi not too long ago. and every word will be parsed later on. and so, you can look at this and know it's not an accident. it's clearly terrorism. but the fact that we didn't have any previous warning of it, that we see right now, this, unfortunately, does happen. none of our defenses will be perfect. the intelligence up front is not going to be perfect. things are going to get through. you hope you have a series of other protective measures in place. at the parade route, in the region. that might catch these things and reduce casualties. but regrettably, we've be
be lethal. the letters were sent to president obama and also to congressman roger wicker. kristen welker is standing by live with the latest. crist reason, at this point what do we know about the suspect? >> reporter: well, we know that was a martial arts instructor and i can tell you, craig that fbi officials have confirmed that special agents arrested 41-year-old everett dut schduts his home in tune low, mississippi. we expect him to be arraigned monday. this arrest is in connection with the rhine-laden letters, one addressed to president obama, another addressed to senator wicker from mississippi. we shut should point out that the letters can a never came close to their intended targets, intercepted at an off-site mail facility. according to our i'll yacht at tupelo, mississippi, officials were investigating the home earlier this week on two separate occasion. this comes after a tuesday incident in which prosecutors dropped charges against another mississippi man, an elvis impersonator named paul kevin curtis. so he has no longer been charged with this. he has claimed his innocence al
in west, texas. joining us now is nbc's kristen welker. kristen, more on texas in a bit, but i'd like to start with the con troertroversy over the fbi' handling of the tsarnaev brothers going as far back as 2011. the white house is facing a lot of questions over the fbi's handling. how is the white house responding? >> reporter: well, martin, right now the fbi is -- the white house, i should say, is standing firmly behind the fbi. although deflecting most questions back to the fbi. the fbi is making the case that, look, when russia asked them to look into tamerlan tsarnaev, the older brother, back in 2011, they did that. they didn't find any ties to any extremist groups or any extremist behavior. when they asked russia for more information, russia essentially didn't give it. that's what the fbi is saying. so they believe they followed protocol. right now the white house standing behind them for that. >> now to texas, kristen. the white house -- is the white house concerned at all about the sight of the president standing side by side with the man that many have accuse him of campaigni
welker. kristen, i guess that's the firmest sign we've had of how the administration is responding and how seriously it's responding to this latest outbreak of belligerence from north korea. >> reporter: there's no doubt the administration thinks this is incredibly serious. part of their strategy, martin, right now, is to reassure its allies in the region. secretary of state john kerry, as you just mentioned, will be traveling to seoul. in addition to that, the united states beefed up its presence in the area, just this afternoon announcing it has sent a second missile carrier to the region. so really trying to make a show of force alongside its alleys in the region. south korea and japan. the president has been in contact with the leaders in those countries as well. part of the administration strategy, martin, also involves reiterating the fact that north korea has used this type of bluster in the past. but i have been speaking to experts in the region who say this moment feels different in part because of who the leader of north korea is. kim jong-un, a young man, took over after
correspondent kristen welker. kristen, what is the latest reaction from the white house and the white house staff? >> reporter: well, senior administration officials say the president will continue to be updated on this situation throughout the evening. right now, they are approaching this as an act of terror. i'll read the latest statement. coming out of the white house, it says "any event with multiple explosive devices as this appears to be is clearly an act of terror and will be approached as an act of terror. however, we don't yet know who carried out this attack and a thorough investigation will have to determine whether it was carried out a terrorist group foreign or domestic. you heard president obama make the point that whoever carried this out will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. the president was made aware of this at about 3:00 this afternoon. he reached out to boston mayor tom menino not only to extend his thoughts and prayers but to make it very clear that the federal government will put its full resources behind figuring out who did this and also helping the c
-trafficking legislation in order to gut the provision. congratulations to the nra. nbc's kristen welker is traveling with the president, and she joins us now from denver. kristen, good afternoon. the president has made it plain that however effective the nra may be in silencing members of congress and preventing any meaningful legislation on guns, he will not be silenced and he will continue to campaign on behalf of the victims of gun violence both in colorado as in today, and indeed around the country. that's right, isn't it? >> reporter: i think that's absolutely right, martin. in fact, on monday, president obama will be traveling to connecticut where, as you mentioned, today they are poised to pass some of the stiffest gun laws in the nation. so there are sort of two parts to this strategy. president obama going out, getting outside of the d.c. bubble, traveling to different states to make his case. but specifically targeting these states that have recently enacted or introduced different laws like colorado. as you know, colorado is a state that has been ravaged by gun violence. and in recent wee
he probably does, what the outcome of a conflict would be. >> joining us now is nbc's kristen welker at the white house. good afternoon, kristen. director of national intelligence james clapper immediately tried to tamp down the noise surrounding this report. what is the white house saying in regards to this? does the white house agree with this assessment? >> reporter: well, martin, the white house is also trying to tamp down anxieties about this report today during the daily briefing. press secretary jay carney said that it is this administration's understanding that north korea does not have the cape capabilities to launch a nuclear attack and reiterated the fact the military built up defense systems in recent weeks preparing to defend itself and allies in the region from north korea. again, they are watching this situation quite closely. the white house's strategy is to tamp down concerns about this. if you talk to experts, people who have been studying this region for quite some time, they will tell you that these latest provocations do feel different than past provocations beca
work remains to be done. nbc's kristen welker joins us now from the white house. kristen, the white house released a photo of the president speaking with nicole hockley, mother of a little boy killed at sandy hook. what can you tell us about those calls and the president's reaction to the vote today? >> reporter: almost immediately after the procedural vote the president picked up the phone and called the family members who have been here all week long, the family members of the newtown victims. they've been going senator to senator urging them to pass these gun laws. so today was a procedural vote, as you point out, but the white house calling it an important first step. but they are being very cautious in their language, martin, because this is still very early on in this process. it is, again, just a procedural vote that sort of clears the way for this legislation to move forward. there's another procedural vote, and there are going to be a lot of twists and turns along the way. a lot of debate along the way before the legislation is actually voted on. now, the white house has be
apply to them, too. >> nbc's white house correspondent kristen welker is at the white house for us. with a good saturday morning to you, kristen. i know the white house has been calling this a band-aid since the senate passed it on thursday night. so, will the president sign it once it hits his desk? >> hey, good morning, alex. and welcome to d.c. always great to have you here. you know, despite calling it a band-aid he is expected to sign this legislation in to law. and it stands to wonder how is he going to have leverage to essentially force congress to do anything about the remaining cuts? so basically what this legislation does is it cuts off, ends furloughs for about 1500 air traffic controllers. it doesn't deal with the rest of the cuts. $85 billion in spending cuts that kicked in, really, across the board that have already started to hit other government agencies, as well as programs across the country, including head start, it's estimated as many as 70,000 kids could ultimately be kicked off of head start programs. here's a little bit more of what president obama had to say
at the top of this hour, nbc news white house correspondent, kristen welker. nbc news foreign correspondent, ayman mohyeldin, and connecticut senator, richard blumenthal. senator, i'll ask you to stand by for one second while we check in with kristen and ayman. kristen, let's begin with the political calculations that go into what the white house is looking for, especially when the administration is receiving pressure from the rights about what it would mean if syria has, indeed, used chemical weapons on its open people. >> reporter: well, thomas, right now the administration essentially trying to buy some time, because there aren't any good options when it comes to syria. putting troops on the ground could cost thousands of american lives, arming the rebels is difficult, because it's not quite clear who the opposition forces are. a no-fly zone, also tricky. so the united states really trying to carve out some more time, but also making the point that they want to be 100% certain of this latest intelligence, which suggests that syria has used chemical weapons. they say there are still quest
for a vote on thursday. for more we're swrojoined by nb kristen welker live at the white house. we saw the president absolutely indignant his republican opponents would hold up, even debate on the background checks that 90% of americans support. so what is the outlook like today, kristen? >> reporter: martin, good afternoon. at this hour, democrats on the hill do not believe that republicans have enough votes to move forward with a filibuster. but, again, i underscore at this hour, because, of course, there are a lot of moving parts to this. democrats are feeling confident right now that they would have the 60 votes necessary to block a filibuster once this does come before the senate. and, of course, that is expected to happen on thursday. now, of course, all of this comes after that full-court press that the white house has been engaging in. the president in connecticut yesterday brought the families of the newtown massacre home with him here so that they could do their own lobbying on capitol hill. that is what is happening right now. vice president biden, as you mentioned, spoke to
the background checks deal. nbc's kristen welker joins us live from the white house. we understand we're just getting the white house response to the senate deal. this is not what the president wanted in terms of its extent. there's no reference to an assault weapons ban. there's nothing to do with magazine clips and their restrictions. what can you tell us about what the white house is saying about today's developments. >> reporter: martin, good afternoon. you're right, president obama just released a statement applauding this compromise. but as you have pointed out, this is a compromise. the president wanted something much bolder. an assault weapons ban. he wanted universal background checks. this is not universal background checks. in fact, it has exemptions for background checks for person to person sales. that means that relatives can give other relatives a gun as a gift, for example. however, there are background checks for gun shows and sales that occur over the internet. so that is why the president is applauding this deal. i'll read you just a portion of this statement that president
of those injuriy iey ies g. kristen welker joins us now. what is the white house saying at this hour? what are you hearing from the top? >> reporter: good evening, rachel. senior administration officials tell me president obama will continue to be briefed on this situation throughout the evening. right now, the white house is approaching this as an act of terror. i can read you the latest statement that we have from a senior administration official, rachel. i believe we have a graphic of that as well. this is according to an official who says, "any event with multiple explosive devices as this appears to be is clearly an act of terror and will be approached as an act of terror. however, we don't yet know who carried out this attack and a thorough investigation will have to determine whether it was planned and carried out by a terrorist group, foreign or domestic." now, i can tell you, rachel, that is really the key question here tonight. was this carried out by a terrorist group homegrown, or a foreign terrorist group? and, rachel, the white house just simply does not know. i've heard you
correspondent kristen welker. what is the latest reaction from the white house and white house staff? >> well, lawrence, senior administration officials say the president will continue to be updated on this situation throughout the evening. and right now, they are approaching this as an act of terror. i'll read you the latest statement we have coming out of the white house. it says, quote, any event with multiple explosive devices as this appears to be is clearly an act of terror and will be approached as an act of terror. however, we don't yet know who carried out this attack. and the thorough investigation will have to determine whether it was planned or carried out by a terrorist group, foreign or domestic. that is the question key, lawrence, was this an act of terror carried out by a foreign group or domestic group? you heard in his comments there, president obama making the point that whoever carried this out will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. the president was made aware of this at about 3:00 this afternoon. he reached out to boston mayor tom menino, as well as the gov
bipartisan plan on background checks. let's bring in nbc white house toernt kristen welker. what can you tell us what the president is expected to say at 5:30? >> reporter: karen, he's going to react to the fact that the manchin/toomey compromise was just defeated in the senate. and i expect we will hear him make similar arguments for expanding background checks to the ones that we have heard him make in the past. you'll probably hear him reference the fact that according to polls, 90% of americans actually support expanding background checks. this is a defeat, obviously, for toomey and manchin and the senators who supported this legislation. but it's also a defeat for president obama. he, of course, made enacting stiffer gun laws one of his key goals in this second term in the wake of the newtown tragedy. he has been traveling across the country, pressing for this. meeting with newtown families. of course, the newtown families came here. they were here on capitol hill all of last week, urging senators to vote in favor of expanding background checks. but as of today, it appears that that is n
marathon bombings. for more let's two to ogo to ou kristen welker at the white house. i'd like to show everyone this picture the white house added to its flickr page, the president meeting with his national security team, fbi director robert muller, attorney general eric holder, vice president joe biden. is the white house saying anything about the connection between these two brothers, chechen rebels, al qaeda, any other terrorist organizations? >> reporter: well, martin, i have to be honest with you, they are not saying a whole lot of anything today in large part because the white house, the president wants to be very careful, cautious and deliberate before they weigh in on this matter. because it is an evolving situation. what i can tell you is that the president has been briefed regularly overnight and then throughout the day. overnight by lisa montaco, department of homeland adviser, who is also pictured there which you just showed. as you mentioned, he held that meeting with his entire national security team. it lasted for about an hour. it took place in the situation room. durin
woman of the moment, nbc's kristen welker. with so many different issues on hand, guns, immigration, budget, now terror, what is the president hoping to accomplish with this dinner this evening? >> reporter: well, martin, good afternoon to you. the man of the hour. the president, this is basically part of his charm offensive. what many people have dubbed his charm offensive. as you point out, that has included the discussion of the budget. certainly immigration will be a large topic of conversation tonight, given the hearings on the hill this week. and, of course, there's been a lot of debate about where immigration should go in the wake of the boston bombings. so that will certainly be on the docket tonight, but i am told the president also wants to hear what these senators have to say. for example, senator gillibrand has taken on abuse in the military. also senator ayotte has called for more funding in syria and more intervention in syria. so those are some of the other topic that might get discussed. this is a part of dinner that already scheduled for these women. they decided to
income women. joining us now, white house correspondent kristen welker. notwithstanding the president's support for women's rights from the lilly ledbetter act onwards, this was still something of a surprise. why did he choose to accept this invitation? >> well, martin, i think in mart if you remember planned parenthood has been very supportive of this president, particularly during the 2012 election. this really gave him a platform to reaffirm his support for the group but also to reaffirm and talk about women's health care and also his support for abortion rights. he really took on some of those states who have recently enacted tougher laws when it comes to abortion including north dakota and mississippi. he said, martin, and i quote "when you read about some of these laws, you want to check the calendar." that was part of his core message this afternoon. of course, martin, as you remember, women played a big role in helping him get re-elected. this is part of his core constituency for democrats. >> the white house received a nonpolitical visitor. who would that be? and why did he c
, sorts of signaling he thinks that has the best chance of actually passing. >> kristen welker, nia malika, thank you very much and mark murray, thank you for being here. >>> the thin red line. former national security adviser, stephen hadley about what to do with syria and the debate over closing guantanamo. this is "andrea mitchell reports." diarrhea, gas, bloating? yes! one phillips' colon health probiotic cap each day helps defend against these digestive issues... with three strains of good bacteria. [ phillips' lady ] live the regular life. phillips'. ♪ the middle of this special moment and i need to run off to the bathroom. ♪ i'm fed up with always having to put my bladder's needs ahead of my daughter. ♪ so today, i'm finally talking to my doctor about overactive bladder symptoms. [ female announcer ] know that gotta go feeling? ask your doctor about prescription toviaz. one toviaz pill a day significantly reduces sudden urges and accidents, for 24 hours. if you have certain stomach problems or glaucoma, or can not empty your bladder, you should not take toviaz. get emergency m
. >> joining me now from the white house, kristen welker. kristen, now, again, that the suspect has been taken alive, it looks as though he is going to pull through, how soon does the white house expect to get some of the answers to the questions that the president just asked there? >> reporter: well, they hope that they will get answers very soon. as you heard the president say, he's directed federal investigators to start trying to get some of those questions answered immediately. president obama doesn't have anything on his public schedule today, but i am told that he will be in contact with his national security team when needed to get briefed on the ongoing investigation into not only what motivated these two brothers but also into whether they had any accomplices, and those are some of the questions, some of the first questions that they're going to want to resolve. so president obama, craig, was very careful not to come out last night and address the public until there had been an arrest, until he felt as though he had all of the information, but he was being briefed behind the scenes h
of a que sequester and caused widespread delays for travelers this week. kristen welker is at white house with more on how congress engineered a quick fix to the delays. kristen. >> reporter: this entire process shows how quickly congress can act when it really wants to. it took just two days for lawmakers to pass legislation authorizing the faa to use other money in its budget, to end the furloughs and those flight delays. today in his weekly address, the president who has said he will sign the bill, called it a temporary fix, a band-aid that doesn't address the overall budget issues which led to the sequester cuts. he continued to criticize republicans for allowing the sequester to occur at all. now in the republicans' official response today, a republican congressman charged that the faa could have made adjustments to avoid those furloughs. he accused the obama administration of playing politics, inflicting pain on the public to give the president more leverage to avoid making spending cuts and to impose more tax hikes. now, due to a typo in the bill, it won't reach the president for h
. mara? >> great new details. kristen welker at the white house, thank you. we will check in with you later. >>> the gop may still be reeling from their big losses in 2012 but the show must go on. the republican national committee is wrapping up its spring meeting in hollywood oh of all placeses, where they discussed minority outreach and same-sex marriage, so, just where does the party go from here? joining me now in new york, kay coppins, political add tore at buzz feed, lynn sweet, washington bureau chief for the "chicago sun-times" and los angeles, may reston, political report for the l.a. times. thank you for being here. may have, i wanted to start with you, you attended the conference. they defined marriage as being between one man and one woman and also urging the supreme court to uphold prop 8 which forbids same-sex marriage in california. how does the party reconcile that position with a changing social climate in a sea that seems to be moving in favor of supporting same-sex marriage? >> well, it was really interesting this week because, you know, obviously coming to holly wo
kristen welker at the white house. alex wagner. chris freight, national correspondent for the national journal. and jackie kucinich, political editor for "the washington post." i want to star with kristen right now, it seems to me this is going to be dominated by syria. >> i think that's right, chris. i think that the president is going to get a lot of questions about syria. of course, several months ago he declared that it would be a red line if syria used chemical weapons. just last week, the administration said that there is proof, they believe, that syria has used chemical weapons. and at this point, it's not clear how the president, how this administration is going to respond. they say they need more evidence to corroborate the initial intelligence reports. i think you're absolutely right, the p
hampshire last night. kristen welker and former pennsylvania congressman patrick murphy. welcome, all. john fury, scott brown, this idea of him running in new hampshire. the idea first came from scott brown. here's what he said last night. but i'll tell you more about this in a minute. here's what scott brown said last night. i missed it. i'm sorry, i was told, well, he said, i don't think i'm done with politics. i'm not going to rule out anything right now because i really haven't thought a heck of a lot about it. that's actually not true. he has been telling former colleagues that he could run for the u.s. senate in new hampshire and they have been looking for a candidate. think he should do it? >> i do. he's a good fit for new hampshire. believe me in the next time around health care will be a huge issue. you know, voted for it. this is one of those things that scott brown is a moderate, but he also being on fox news, going to be appealing to conservatives in the primary. i think he's a perfect fit. >> new hampshire has been a whip lash state where basically every two years they throw ou
and having an impact on low-income families. nbc white house correspondent kristen welker joins us now. we've heard a lot about programs, head start programs particularly where people have been hit hard and seeing the impact. >> reporter: absolutely. when the sequester first took effect in march, there was a lot of debate about what the actual impact of the sequester would be. while not everyone has been affected, a lot of families say it has made life more difficult. tiffany jones, a single mother of three, says her 4 and 5-year-olds were excited about returning to school this spring. >> we loved it. it was good teaching for the kids. they've held potty training, abcs, colors, everything. >> reporter: they were students at this columbus, indiana head start. a program that helps low-income families afford preschool. >> my kids were in a school where i felt like they were teachers that i trusted. it was community people you knew from your community. >> reporter: two week ago, a may know blow when jones learned her kids like dozens of others in columbus would be staying home. all because of
in critical condition. kristen welker is at the white house with the very latest. what are you being told there? >> tamron, i can tell you president obama was informed at about 3:00 this afternoon of the explosions in boston. he was briefed by his homeland security adviser. he put in calls -- >> kristen, let me interrupt you and take our audience to the news conference happening now. boston pd. let's listen in. we see governor deval patrick standing by. he tweeted out a message via twitter saying that he was currently in contact with federal, state and city officials there. we are waiting this press conference from the boston police department. as i mentioned at this time, the faa has announced a ground stop for boston logan airport until further notice. a number of cities have also reacted with heightening security. let's listen in to governor patrick. >> good afternoon, everybody. well, we've had a horrific attack here in boston this afternoon. commissioner davis is going to give some details about what we know so far. mindful that we don't have the whole picture yet. but we have gotten
's kristen welker. she's there right now. what's the president been doing in regard to this horror since 3:00? >> chris, i can tell you president obama just finished a phone call with fbi director robert muller as well as dhs secretary janet napolitano. they have been briefing him on the coordinated response between the federal, state and local officials. he has been keeping up to date with this situation since about 3:00 when he was first notified. i can also tell you that he has placed calls to the boston mayor, tom menino, as well as the governor of massachusetts deval patrick to extend his thoughts but also to say the administration will be putting its full weight and resources behind the response to this crisis in boston. now, out of an abundance of caution, the secret service has closed off pennsylvania avenue to foot traffic. that is the road outside of the white house, chris. there's never any vehicles that travels along pennsylvania avenue outside of the white house, but as of right now it's been closed to foot traffic as well. i want to emphasize that that is out of an abundance
white house correspondent kristen welker. chris ten, what is the latest reaction from the white house and the white house staff? >> reporter: well, senior administration officials say the president will continue to be updated on this situation throughout the evening. right now, they are approaching this as an act of terror. i'll read the latest statement. any event with multiple devices as this clearly is is clearly an act of terror and will be approached as an act of terror. a thorough investigation will happen. was this an act of terror carried out by a foreign or do mystic group? you heard president obama make the point of whoever carried this out will be prosecuted to the fullest extend of the law. the president was made aware of it at 3:00 this afternoon. he extended his thoughts and prayers and to make it clear the federal government will put full resources behind figuring out who did this and helping the community of boston heal. he's been briefed throughout the day by robert muller, the director of the fbi as well as dhs secretary, janet napolitano. he will continue to get upd
house correspondent kristen welker. she joins us now. the president in contact and regularly being briefed by his advisers. but listening to the president just like with so many people at home, he is saying there that there are more questions still than answers, at least that they can disclose. >> reporter: right. it is still very early on in this investigation, tamron. the big question that they are trying to answer right now, was this a domestic act of terrorism or a foreign act of terrorism. the other big takeaway from the president's remarks are that he used that term. he said this is being investigated as an act of terrorism. remember when he spoke yesterday, he refrain from using that word. white house officials said that is because he spoke about three hours after those blasts went off. he wanted to be very cautious in terms of his word choice. the white house a few minutes after the president spoke yesterday did put out a statement saying that it does appear this is an act of terror. you heard the president say he spoke to mayor tom menino. that he has spoken to governor pa
in the wake of the boston bombing. let's bring in the thursday gang. kristen welker, "thyme" magazine's michael crowley and michael, the thing, the interesting thing about watching immigration opponents this morning is that you can see that they feel emboldened by the gun defeat. >> yeah. >> as in to say there was bipartisan leadership involved in the gun debate. there is here, but they can still defeat this. what's different? >> i'm not sure that it is all that different. i guess a key point would be that i think unlike the gun debate, the leadership of the republican party is invested in this. i think when it came to gun control, top figures in the republican party kind of felt like we don't need to do this. might have had mixed feelings. for immigration they felt like demographic reasons, for the future of the democratic party got to get something done and very similar is the fact that you have a dysfunctional congress and you have a base with extreme intensity of preference so there's sort of broad support for it, but there's intense opposition, and that is always a very strong th
. i want to bring in nbc news white house correspondent kristen welker with us live from washington. we know the president was with his top advisers this morning. can you give as you read-out as to what's going on at 1600 pennsylvania avenue. >> that's right, alex. president obama had a sweeping meeting in the situation room earlier today for about an hour with his entire national security team. updated and briefed on the evolving situation in boston. i can tell you that the white house is being very careful and very cautious in its reactions. because this is a developing story. i can also tell you that as of this hour, secretary john kerry, defense secretary chuck hagel and c.i.a. director john brennan are here for a previously scheduled meeting with the national security adviser. that is under way right now. that doesn't involve the president. will they discuss boston? that is certainly a high possibility giving the evolving events of the day. president obama has been briefed regularly throughout the day. and overnight. as the situation was developing. of course we have heard from
to put programs russia in a box according to kristen welker. it seem the white house itself is in a box. >> well, yes, they made this red line was something president obama put forward and declared this as the rationale to justify the use of military power. i don't think any intelligence assessment will tell us that the rebels have large quantities of sarin gas. i don't think it is really in doubt that the origin of this gas is the years i can't be regime, bashar assad. whether this happened by accident or on purpose may be one question that needs to be answered. >> that's a significant question. that would be the only thing left that i think is in doubt. and for now, i think the administration as you said is going to put some pressure on russia. but russia has not proven very amenable to responding in the past. we had months and months last year when we were downing on the russians to help resolve this and they failed. >> is it predictable that the syrian government would blame the opposition forces for the use of chemicals as opposed to saying perhaps this was an accident. they're inv
>> he does, indeed. of course, you will be there, too. kristen welker, thank you. we'll have coverage right here on msnbc tomorrow. thanks so much for watching this afternoon. chris matthews and "hardball" is next. >>> dogs of war. let's play "hardball." >>> good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start with this. war. bombing people. shooting down airplanes. breaking into houses. i can think of what we mean when we so casually say, lelt's go, let's get in this thing and the rah-rah and drum beating that gets us out there killing people and getting killed again. always it's the same ones, mccain, krystol. say the name of the country and their conditioned response is war, america go to war. let's not be afraid to use our strength. the neocon babble. let's have a muscular foreign policy. all the metaphors for war that has us stuck once again in a country whose name we dare not pronounce a decade later. i spent all day yesterday at the george w. bush library. not once did i hear the word iraq. not once. if this crowd is proud of the wars they pushed, why are they
into the there. >> kristen welker at the white house. let me bring susan in and, ed, to kristen's point, what are the chances this runs into some problems in congress? >> i'd say they're going to run into a lot of problems. not on is the national sign foundation and nih under the gun due to the sequestration, having lost a lot of money for research but this is a congress that can't pass a budget, this is a congress that appears now very unlikely to pass a series of gun proposals that are very widely popular across the country. to add $100 million in science funding is something that i think is going to face a tough swim across the street here at the capitol. >> in spite of the fact, susan, that he's talking about this public/private partnership and certainly in terms of public relations when you talk about things like helping with autism and, by the way, it's autism speaks day today, i got my little pin here that i should show. things like alzheimer's disease, traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, is it going to be a fight? >> well, christian made point, thou kristen made the point that the presi
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